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Shikonin inhibited immune evasion in pancreatic cancer by inhibiting PD-L1 glycosylation.


Pancreatology. 2021 Apr ;21(3):630-641. Epub 2021 Feb 12. PMID: 33707115

Abstract Title: 

Shikonin-mediated PD-L1 degradation suppresses immune evasion in pancreatic cancer by inhibiting NF-κB/STAT3 and NF-κB/CSN5 signaling pathways.


BACKGROUND: Pancreatic cancer (PC) is a highly fatal malignancy with few effective therapies currently available. Recent studies have shown that PD-L1 inhibitors could be potential therapeutic targets for the treatment of PC. The present study aims to investigate the effect of Shikonin on immune evasion in PC with the involvement of the PD-L1 degradation.METHODS: Initially, the expression patterns of PD-L1 and NF-κB in PC were predicted in-silico using the GEPIA database, and were subsequently validated using PC tissues. Thereafter, the correlation of NF-κB with STAT3, CSN5 and PD-L1 was examined. PC cells were treated with Shikonin, NF-κB inhibitor, STAT3 activator, and CSN5 overexpression plasmid to investigate effects on PD-L1 glycosylation and immune evasion in PC. Finally, in vivo tumor formation was induced in C57BL/6J mice, in order to verify the in vitro results.RESULTS: PD-L1, NF-κB, NF-κB p65, STAT3, and CSN5 were highly expressed in PC samples, and NF-κB was positively correlated with STAT3/CSN5/PD-L1. Inhibition of NF-κB decreased PD-L1 glycosylation and increased PD-L1 degradation, whereas activated STAT3 and overexpressed CSN5 reversed these trends. Shikonin blockedimmune evasion in PC, and lowered the expression of PD-L1, NF-κB, NF-κB p65, STAT3 and CSN5 in vivo and in vitro.CONCLUSION: The findings indicated Shikonin inhibited immune evasion in PC by inhibiting PD-L1 glycosylation and activating the NF-κB/STAT3 and NF-κB/CSN5 signaling pathways. These effects of Shikonin on PC cells may bear important potential therapeutic implications for the treatment of PC.

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